A honest look at failure

What every organization should look at when creating their culture

Life without failures is either a person living in La La Land or someone who has never had the guts or GRIT to reach out to win. I will take my guts and grit any day, thank you.

Any true champion has had their fair share of failures, however often times we only see the pinnacle of their success. With media and social media today, we often times only see the organizations and individuals that are winning however we don’t always realize the failures it took to get there. 

Check out the following success icons that faced failure:

  • In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple – the company he started from his own garage.
  • Colonel Sanders went out of business in 1967 and his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

In working with high stress organizations and first responder groups, it is always interesting to see how they handle failure. Usually it is done in two ways:

  1. Failure is shunned, frowned upon, and used as a tool to add shame to individuals rather than a tool to grow.
  2. Failure is looked at as a learning opportunity to grow rather than a toxin to avoid at all costs. 

“Life without failures is either a person living in La La Land or someone who has never had the guts or GRIT to reach out to win. I will take my guts and grit any day, thank you. “ – Jen McDonough Click to Tweet

Typically, we do the same in our personal lives.

  1. We view failure as something to be ashamed of, to hide, and/or to run away from.
  2. We view failure as another way to grow, learn and share with others so they learn too. 

Learning to view failures as an opportunity to grow takes courage, strength, and GRIT. In organizations, this starts with leadership and works it way down. As individuals, this starts with us taking leadership to work ourselves up.

After all, isn’t it easier to be the one to throw stones versus being the person standing alone in the arena?

How does your organization or you yourself view failure? Is it an opportunity to grow or a reason to throw stones?


For more information, on Jen’s resilience training and keynotes for your organization, please click HERE.

G.R.I.T. (Growing Resilient Individuals & Teams) with Jen leads to learning to learning how to:
~ Build Resiliency
~ Become situationally aware of complacency
~ Adapt to change
~ Recover from setbacks
~ Reduce stress
~ Overcome obstacles
~ Removal of self-limting barriers

Looking forward to serving you.

Click on the picture above to find out how to book Jen for your next speaking event.

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